First, I want to wish you and your family a Happy New Year 2019. I sincerely hope that this is a year full of health and joy for you and your family.
As Prime Minister of this country, I have the honor to address you at the beginning of a new year; always a suitable time to determine new goals and ambitions.
2018 was a year in which we faced challenges and major changes. Both for the country and within the household of many families.
I am convinced that 2019 will be a year in which we will write history together.
2019 must be the year in which every citizen will once again get the feeling that they are optimistic about the future of Curaçao and the welfare of everyone. There are many developments going on that are promising in terms of realizing a more stable and prosperous future full of perspectives for us all.
Regardless of all the immense challenges that we had to face in 2018 with regard to the future of our country, we can look back and see that all the hard work of Cabinet Rhuggenaath to turn the page and write a new chapter in our history, its fruits begin to pay off. The fact is that:
We are in a good position to continue negotiating with a reputable strategic partner to manage and modernize our refinery after 2019. A difficult decision that I had to make at the beginning of 2018, but that has now opened the door for better prospects within the oil sector.
We will get a new hospital again after 180 years. In the past year and a half, steps have been taken in a decisive way to start the transition to a new hospital.
Important investors such as Damen and Corendon actively show their confidence in our country and in January this month no less than 25 companies will visit Curaçao in connection with the Bon Bini for Business investment conference.
Local investors also show their confidence through large investments in tourism, including Marichi and Sta. Martha. But also, within the agricultural sector, where the Government has launched the "Kunukito den bario" project.
Despite the small scale of our country, our athletes, artists, academics and experts always ensure that we can proudly look back on their great achievements at world level.
I recognize without doubt that part of our reality is that our country is still in a position where the Government has a precarious financial situation and the work supply is not sufficient. There are various developments going on that we still need to adequately counter and improve. There are also important decisions to be taken in order to create the country where there is socio-economic progress, especially for those who need it the most and where we can all live together in a more joyful way.
This Government has opted for an approach that entails growth for the purpose of strengthening the civil service and improving the financial administration and administrative capacity to stimulate economic development. This with the aim to form a basis that is stronger and more resistant. We do this by reflecting on how more efficiently and flexibly we can go to work and offer a better service.
I would like to repeat what I have said once: "If only it was possible that progress could be realized overnight."
Progress results from hope. When we continue to cherish hope, we have the power to realize our ideas.
Progress takes shape in having courage. By having the strength and confidence to be able to make decisions, to reflect and to do things in a different way to bring about positive changes.
Progress is accomplished through perseverance, because sometimes the process is long and laborious. But it will continue to enjoy a well-deserved success.
Progress is booked on the basis of trust. This through our faith in God and in the goodness of man to work together for our country and our society.
The progress and well-being of a people cannot be measured on the basis of the number of funds that are in circulation within a community. To achieve citizens' well-being, citizens must meet their needs and be guaranteed the necessary opportunities and perspectives that contribute to their happiness. For me the well-being of a people has been achieved when:
Every one of us has the feeling that Curaçao is actually a country where residents are offered good opportunities and perspectives;
We, despite our differences, can live peacefully together and seek ways to move forward together;
They can be shared with each other, no matter how little that may be. If we do not know how to do this, then we cannot go forward together as one people.
Progress and well-being, however, is not just a matter for the Government. It is a responsibility that each of us must bear, taking the initiative into our own hands to see our self and our family moving forward. We must believe in ourselves and our capacities and recognize and utilize opportunities and opportunities that come our way.
Our local cultural festivals such as Karnaval and Seú are excellent examples where you can see we very well how much as a people are capable of when each person makes his or her contribution. If we are able to do this, we should also be able to use the same creativity, discipline and organizational capacity to create more hope and well-being for all of us, right?
In life there is only one path that we can walk that leads to success. We achieve this by working hard on our dreams with a lot of dedication and perseverance. The person who thinks he or she can succeed without any effort, will be disappointed. Just like everyone else, the Government also needs to know how it adjusts and where the necessary efforts are made for sustainable advances.
People of Curaçao,
In my view, the formation of our children and guidance from leaders, who can actually be used in our community, is one of the most important aspects we need to focus on to build trust and progress.
Nevertheless, our children must be able to use all possibilities in their lives. However, we see on a daily basis how children and young people, because of their upbringing at home, lead a difficult life full of pain and grief. We have seen this repeatedly in recent times. Our children deserve so much more than that.
It is the duty and responsibility of each of us, being parents, to give our children much love and affection from an early age. Nothing and no one can replace the love and commitment of a parent to his or her child.
We as a Government provide assistance in the form of setting up and implementing urgency programs and other projects in the field of social development, where necessary. This remains a priority for us as a government.
The Government wants to thank everyone, young and old, for their tireless contribution to our country. Because together we build Curaçao!
To all leaders who feel called to contribute to our community, do not wait until someone transfers the work to you. Take the initiative yourself; at home, in the neighborhoods, at school and within the community and let us work together in a creative way on our country.
At the same time, I would like to draw all the leaders, being politicians, trade unionists, entrepreneurs, journalists, employees and / or volunteers, to their role within the community and their responsibility to help shape other future leaders. No community can move forward if leaders only keep putting themselves and their own interests in the first place, seeking to break others and at all times maintain disagreement and division among the people for their own sake. We need leaders who are there to serve others.
We as Government intend to hold a mirror to ourselves to determine where change at the administrative level and within the civil service is needed to grow. The beginning of 2019 is an opportune moment for everyone to reflect on and connect with the important goal of working in an honest way on the collective interest that is needed to advance as a Curaçaoan. You can expect the same from me.
Let us move together in the direction in which we can create prosperity for our country that belongs to all of us. Let us work together on our progress that we all want to achieve.
In 2019 from now on, let us work together on the success formula for a prosperous and happy Curaçao of today, tomorrow and in the future.
A good evening and God bless Curaçao.